Mr. Druitt of 5152 Treeforth Dr. receives an unexpected visit from a Detective investigating the murder of five people that have left investigators baffled at how five corpses could be cut up without bleeding.
I turned my foot like a hockey stick to pass the fallen ice cubes underneath my fridge. One cube remained on the kitchen floor twisting and turning around like a spinning top waiting to slow to a halt as it twirls. I watched it melt as time slipped by unnoticed and I shuddered at the sound of the door bell. The sun disappeared into the night as I pulled my curtains closed to shut myself out from the outside world. Who could be here at this hour?
Opening the door I am welcomed by an intimidating man with a brown coat, faded as if it’s been worn for more decades, and a fedora. “How’re you today, sir?” The man said. “My name is Johnston, Leonard Johnston. Detective Johnston. May I come in? I have a few questions to ask about an unfortunate circumstance in your neighborhood three nights ago.” The man also wore a frown. His hands appeared rough, he was no office jockey for sure, I thought. He’s seen the streets more than the office. I said, why not? Of course he could come on in. The streets screamed with silence that only when taking in notice do you hear those silent screams. I welcomed it in.
“How may I help you, Detective Johnston?” I asked with hesitation. I was unsure if it would be appropriate to refer to him as detective, or Johnston, or even Leonard Johnston. Those were the names he gave me, so I’m assuming any of them would be quite appropriate to use. Johnston lowered his head, avoiding hitting entering my house – he was really tall, he took off his jacket neatly folding it and tucking it around his left arm. I gave him a wave to a recliner across from my couch where I sat in front of the coffee table. He got comfortable and crossed his legs. I noticed his shoes on my carpet and my eyes squinted but I said nothing.
The detective pulled off his fedora revealing a balding head, but clearly he was hanging on to the last vestige of a once good looking head of hair. I respected that, some people resist change but it’s important to remember the past – and try to hold on as long as you can. I was pleased to find one thing I liked about the detective. Besides, of course, his wonderful choice of fedora. A forgotten headpiece. “Well, Mr. Druitt, do you know about the murders the past few months?” Detective Johnston’s opening was as open as a greeting of “Welcome to Wal-mart!” Of course I knew about the murders, they were not only all over the news but all over the neighborhood. Neighborhood-watch has gone insane slapping missing persons posters on every light pole lining the streets. That is, until they found the bodies. The bodies were always found missing limbs – not one, or two, usually missing both arms and legs. I say usually because the first three were missing one arm, two arms, two arms and one leg, in that order. The fourth and fifth victim were missing all four. Not only were they missing limbs, which should be difficult to comprehend by itself, but they were scarred. Cut up, tattooed. Strange symbols of unearthly origin. No linguist or symbologist could figure it out. At least the ones they found to study the cases. I took newspaper clippings or online printouts and hung them up in my office to figure it out. Like a crossword puzzle. But I neglected to mention this to the detective. Yet again, the missing limbs and tattooed scarred corpses were on the lesser side of their problems. The bodies, it was leaked in the news, had no blood missing. The bodies never bled. When the doctors did their autopsies the bodies released a pool of blood like a gallon of milk fallen on the floor. It poured out like Niagra Falls. “Well, as we reach the end of what we can possibly find around the corpses of the deceased, we’re stuck going door to door asking anybody anything about the five murders.” He ended his speech, more like a soliloquy, with a faded last few seconds of words like a song that never ends but simply fades away.
“And that brings you finally to me.” I expected him to finally get to business.
“Yes, Mr. Druitt, it is fine if I call you Mr. Druitt?” I told him John would be fine, or John Druitt, or Mr. Druitt if he wanted to stick with that. Leonard Johnston told me he’d call me John. He asked me about where I was on the night of the murders. Body one; Lindsey Feldman, missing her right arm. Body two; Corey Phelps, missing his left arm, found beneath an oak tree on 5230 Treeforth drive. Irony. Body three; Kaitie Hardy, missing both arms, found in a ditch across from my house underneath another oak tree. Body four; Nicholas Swells, missing both arms and left leg, found underneath a car on 5285. Finally, body five; Courtney Mckee, missing both arms and both legs, found in the middle of the intersection of Treeforth and Daisy. Detective Leonard came to speak to me about the third body found, Kaitie Hardy, missing both arms found across the street from me. All five bodies were within a football field distance from my house. Either my neighborhood had a crazed killer on the loose or somebody simply enjoyed leaving bloodful bodies out for me to trip over on my way to my car. A new thought occurred to me. How come the dogs and any other animal hadn’t gotten to the bodies? Strange, they were left perfectly preserved as if designed to not have animals feed on them. Crows would have enjoyed the feast presented to them like a Thanksgiving meal.
“I’m sorry, Officer – “ He corrected me immediately, it was detective. “My mistake, Detective, but I was away when that fourth body was found across the street here. I told the police when I returned that already. I was on a trip for work down in New Orleans.” My refrigerator buzzed and hummed, drawing the detectives and my attention towards the kitchen. There was no wall between us and the kitchen, the sound was free to fill the house with it’s hum. “Damn fridge, never buy a Samsung, I’ve been meaning to get that fixed. The defroster isn’t working and the fans are hitting ice building up.”
“Did you know Kaitie?” Leonard asked, ignoring my own speech about my broken fridge like he didn’t care. It was my problem after all, not exactly a detective’s number one case to give them their big promotion.
“No, she was from another neighborhood. I saw on the news. It’s a big city, I wouldn’t cross her path in a hundred years not by coincidence.” It’s true. How many times have you taken the same path to work every morning, at the same time, and have you ever recognized another vehicle even once on your morning route? Never. There’s just sixty seconds in a minute, and thousands of cars on the road. Stars would have to align for two cars to be next to each other only two days in a row.
A car horn drew our attention at the front windows. Somebody beeping at something else.
The detective, detective Leonard Johnston, rolled up his hands on his chest as if in a deep state of thought. He leaned back in the recliner. “You know, you really need to get that defroster fixed? It’ll mess up your blades real bad.” The car horn didn’t bother the detective. I wondered what caused somebody to honk past eight at night?
“I know, call it a work in progress. It’s on my to-do list.” My food was beginning to rot.
“There’s another thing about the five that the media hasn’t mentioned, hasn’t been leaked, that is more disconcerting that the missing limbs, tattooed bodies, and somehow bled-less corpses.” Leonard threw on his fedora, straightening it as if he was using a mirror. “Well, I should say two things.”
“Oh?” My attention, and my body, leaned towards Det. Leonard Johnston.
“First, they were waterlogged. You know, shriveled, like they were in a pool for too long or spent too long in the bathtub. Strangest thing seeing them like that. Shriveled up like old corpses, but they were all in their twenties. Young and fruitful dead corpses rotting away in the night.”
“Terrible.” Waterlogged dead corpses lying in the middle of the road. Poor creatures.
“Yes, terrible. But the worst part?” Leonard leaned in to me, like telling me a secret. Whispering it. “The worst part was these corpses weren’t dead. Oh they were dead, in the traditional sense, but they spoke, John, they spoke to the first founders of their bodies. But no air came out of their mouths, no pulse was in their heart, their wrists were as cold as ice. Antarctica-cold. So cold it burnt the hands they touched, frost burned. Never thought it was a real thing until then.” He ended it with a whisper fading in the wind.
The tone of the detective was as cold as he described their wrists. Not in a wicked sense, but in a heartless tone. I sensed it in his voice. The detective grabbed his coat, swinging it around his back and placed his arms through the holes. He tipped his fedora at me, thanking me for my time. I wished him good luck on his journey and hoped he’d find the beast that did this. I really did hope he would find it. Anybody could be next. I wanted very badly to know who the beast was.
I flicked my light switch first turning off the porch lights, then the inside lights. I peered through the curtains keeping my distanced swayed to the side. The detective sat in his car for what seemed an eternity. Too long. He then proceeded to drive off. I thought thoughts of the five corpses lining up and down my street and wondered if there would be more. Why would corpses be parked under cars, in ditches, in intersections, or underneath trees? Why would corpses be underneath any tree or missing limbs? Only an amatuer would do such a thing. Only an amatuer would do such a thing to impress the legendary Ice-Cold killer? If I taught a class on the proper technique I’d teach them to chop the bodies up in tiny bits, say a midnight prayer, and kick them under the fridge. Kick all the bits and pieces under the fridge.
I used both my arms to pull out my refrigerator to reveal a unique hole I would be disappointed if found. Within this hole bore a dungeon of sorts that kept my collection of pieces. Funny, how the tiny bits of mouths spoke to me. If they could have their lips properly perform words I’m sure they’d mouth “help” and “release me.” But they could not, they mumbled and jumbled letters of something I could not understand. Sometimes, if I fit the right bits and pieces together like a puzzle, they would speak beautiful harmonic words. I’d listen to it for hours like listening to Mozart, Bach, or Beethoven. Bits and pieces of arms and hands appeared to wave when I opened up the hole nightly before bed. Those bits and pieces of mouths, arms, legs, and hearts warmed me before bed. The hearts I kept mostly intact and those beautiful hearts pumped with warmness that gave me hope in humanity that our hearts will continue pumping with warm blood even when we’re done, all the while under the fridge.
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